Local Ministry Denied Future Invitations to The Landing
Questions about Branson’s values were raised by at our last city counsel by Jory Rolf the president and Founder of a performance ministry based in Branson. During the City Council meeting Jory voiced opposition to Rick Huffman’s proposed 300 foot high-rise based on his experience with management of the Branson Landing.
Rolf’s organization, Action Impact Ministries (AIM) was invited to perform at the Branson Landing on Labor Day on the conditions that the organization’s message wasn’t “In your face evangelistic or involved distribution of hand bills”.
AIM’s two hour Labor Day performance involved mimes and interpretive dance with musical accompaniments such as “It’s an honor to Serve” and “Fallen not Forgotten” The interfaith organization whose motto is Faith, Family and Flag was received well by many who watched the performance. In addition to being personally thanked by Veterans, The group of mostly home schooled children was invited to perform for local schools as part of the Character Plus program.
AIM’s past performances have resulted in future invites to such local venues as the Branson Mall and Branson Fest but no such luck was experienced after their Landing performance. According to Rolf the Branson Landing management found AIM performances to be, “Too Religious and Too Political.”
AIM’s ministry approach is inspired by St. Francis of Assisi who said “ at all times preach the gospel and only when necessary use words.”
Rolf maintains that Branson’s values are consistent with values his ministry promotes and is encouraging the City of Branson and the Branson Landing Management to take a stand and show the public who and what they are about. Rolf Jory continues to file requests for an invitation to perform at the Landing.
Public and Private - Church and State - This story is the first of what may soon provide a challenge to the Branson Landing. Are the ethics and values promoted at the Landing consistent with the public who funds the Landing? Is it fair to demand the Landing to open itself up to the consequences of free speech and provide a venue for those who wish to express 1st Amendment rights?
The Landing, though publically funded is privately managed. Religous messages are delivered on a pay to play basis. There are two instances where religious based business peddle religous gear and religious venues. If publically funded should constitutionoal rights apply? Currently, freedom of expression is up to the discretion of Branson Landing management.
The mainstream in Branson is much more conservative than the United States as a whole. Political Incorrectness is standard and defiance of many national trends a local standard as well. Jory's goal is to challenge and solidify the Landing's stance and his stance is that it varies from the local public's value system.
The question remains, does the public or the City of Branson itself have any right to dictate how the Landing is managed or what messaging is permitted on-site?
Prepared by: Darin Codon